There are a number of reasons why we might expect that family structure would be affected by Wisconsin's experimental child support policy that allowed all support paid by nonresident fathers of children on welfare to be passed through to the mother and fully disregarded in calculating cash assistance. The fathers may be encouraged to take more financial responsibility for their children if the support is passed through in full and disregarded in calculating benefit checks. The fathers may be more connected to the mothers of their children than fathers whose support payments are only in part transmitted to the children; as a consequence, the parents in the full disregard group may be more likely to marry or live together. There may be less conflict between these parents, again leading to an increased likelihood of marriage or cohabitation. This report extends the initial experimental evaluation for the first cohort of participants in the Child Support Demonstration Evaluation (CSDE), those who entered W-2 between September 1997 and July 1998. (Meyer and Cancian, 2001). That evaluation did not include an assessment of the longer-term effects on marriage and living arrangements. In the next section, we discuss data, sample, and methods; we then present our results, and discuss implications for policy and research.
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Effects of the Full Child Support Pass-Through/Disregard on Marriage and Cohabitation.